Posted by Brian @ 12:46 pm on December 21st 2010

Fix the “Using fallback suid method” error message on Busybox (NSLU2)

When you ssh into a fresh SlugOSBE install on an NSLU2 device (or maybe anything running Busybox), an annoying error keeps popping up: “Using fallback suid method”

The simple fix to this is, as root:
touch /etc/busybox.conf

That’s it.

Posted by Brian @ 11:50 pm on December 4th 2010

How to configure WordPress for automatic ftps updates using vsftp in Ubuntu

This is a complete guide for setting up WordPress to do secure ftps updates under Ubuntu, tested under Ubuntu 10.10. I assume you have a working WordPress installation and sudo access on the server. If you have any ideas for improving the security of this, please let me know and I’ll update the guide.

Install the vsftp server software:
sudo apt-get install vsftpd

Edit the configuration file for vsftpd to enable ftps:
sudo vi /etc/vsftpd.conf
The following is my entire vsftp.conf file; I shut down anonymous access and even changed the port that vsftpd listens on to throw off low-level script attacks. I stripped out all the nice comments in the file to make this howto a bit more readable. If you paste this in be sure to delete everything else or make sure there aren’t any duplications:

Now start the vsftp server:
sudo start vsftpd

Add a bit of code to the wp-config file to enable uploads:
sudo vi /var/www/wp-config.php
Add the following code to the end:
if(is_admin()) {
add_filter('filesystem_method', create_function('$a', 'return "direct";' ));
define( 'FS_CHMOD_DIR', 0751 );

Now create the ftps user, making their default directory our web directory:
sudo adduser ftps --home /var/www
NOTE: Don’t worry about the warning about the home directory and give the ftps user a good, solid password. Use nonsense words, spaces, and characters like %,$,#. Store the password somewhere safe as you’ll be using this user and password to update WordPress.

Add the ftps user to the www-data group:
sudo vi /etc/group
In that file look for this line:
and add the ftps user to the group by adding ‘ftps’ to the end of that line:

Change the www directory and all files in it to be owned by the www-data group
sudo chgrp -R www-data /var/www

Make the www directory writable by the www-data group
sudo chmod -R g+w /var/www

You can now do updates automatically. Host is the name of your website, plus the following “:2112” – so if your website was, you’d do this:
Username is “ftps” and the password is what you chose earlier. Be sure to select “ftps” as the option. Enjoy!

Posted by Brian @ 2:44 pm on March 19th 2010

Fixing the Lyx document class unusable error in Ubuntu

I got this error in Lyx working on a book project:
The layout file requested by this document,
is not usable. This is probably because a LaTeX
class or style file required by it is not
available. See the Customization documentation
for more information.
LyX will not be able to produce output.

If you get this, you’re missing a single package. Fix it with:
sudo apt-get install tetex-extra

Edited 11/12/2010
The above solution only works for Ubuntu 10.04 and older. For 10.10 (Maverick) do this:
sudo apt-get install texlive-lang-polish

I also had to go to Tools -> Reconfigure after the package installed.

Posted by Brian @ 11:51 pm on January 30th 2010

Sit-down Spy Hunter high score

According to this I just beat the 9th highest score ever officially recorded on Spy Hunter. I hadn’t played in months but I got this score on the first run on the sit down Spy Hunter we have in the office. One of these days I’ll hook up a video camera and make a legit attempt. Ryan’s the old owner and holder of the #7 spot.

Brian's spy hunter high score

Posted by Brian @ 8:55 am on December 10th 2009

Elevator art

Saw this great elevator art at the building Chime software is located in.

Posted by Brian @ 7:51 am on December 5th 2009

Warning sticker on flying toy

this toy is specifically built to crash – but if you do the sticker says the toy will break! Which is right? (seen@ Fry’s electronics)

Posted by Brian @ 11:10 pm on November 13th 2009

Jack-o-lantern with leaf for a tongue

A leaf fell from our walnut tree and stuck in this Jack-o-lantern’s mouth giving it the appearance of a tongue. Completely random and wonderful at the same time.

Posted by Brian @ 5:44 pm on November 12th 2009

How to install Gargoyle on Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala amd64

Gargoyle allows you to play almost every kind of interactive fiction under the sun. It’s a little tricky to get running since there is no package for it under Karmic for amd64. (But if you’re running 32 bit Karmic go here for the 32 bit package).

First download the Gargoyle source code from the Gargoyle repo. As of this posting the current version is

Unzip the file to a directory.

Now get the dependencies:
sudo apt-get install jam libsdl-mixer1.2-dev libgtk2.0-dev libfreetype6-dev libpng12-dev

And finally compile:
jam install

You’ll find the executable under the build/dist directory. The INSTALL text file has more details. Happy IF’ing!

Posted by Brian @ 11:24 am on August 5th 2009

A visual joke for my friends in the UK

Posted by Brian @ 6:03 pm on July 14th 2009

Cat in the hat

“I do not like this Sam-I-am.”

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